Kalgoorlie Boulder City has been a special place to me for some 45 years now.
I learnt the basics of faceting here at the International Lapidary shop in Hannan Street. This was under Bill Moriarty’s tutelage in the mid 1970’s, while I was on a working holiday away from jewellery store duties in Adelaide.
I was getting restless, our family had been connected more or less to gems, gold and mining for several generations, from the start of mining in South Australia at Glen Osmond, Kadina and then the ‘Monster’ mine at Burra. My father was born in Broken Hill, his father a miner there after working the family Station (Strathmore) on the Darling River. He did a stint of opal mining on the White Cliffs field as well, all before 1900.
Based in Kalgoorlie in 1978 I started learning the electronic prospecting life from out of a Holden HQ station wagon. The Golden Mile was still a line of poppet heads and treatment plants then, but not for much longer. The gold price was around A$280/oz and on the field gold was weighed in pennyweights (dwt) if not big enough to make an ounce. 20 dwts = 1 oz. I was 23 then and learnt a lot in a few years ‘on the fields’…in particular the value of clean water, family, friends and desert solitude.
With a plan to get into geology (exploration and mining) properly my wife Ros and I with our young family drove to Kalgoorlie (again from Adelaide) so that I could study at the Western Australian School of Mines (WASM), graduating in 2000. While holiday work was found close to ‘Kal’ I later got fulltime work at Tarmoola (gold), Mt Keith (nickel), St George’s Tce (BHP) and lastly at DeGrussa (copper).